Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Xbox 360’

Xbox One Reveal Post-mortem: Microsoft reveals expensive PVR which under limited circumstances can play games

May 28, 2013 2 comments

I’ve waited for a few days after Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal on May 21st 2013 to gather up the trickle of additional information that has been leaking out of the press in the aftermath of what has widely been considered one of the most disastrous console reveals of all time. While fanboys and media alike were quick to criticise the new machine, here I am going to present just the facts as we know them so far, and a dose of reality that some readers may find startling. Read more…

The Gaming Rant 2

March 13, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

Last week’s list of nuisances seemed to go down pretty well, and hey, misery loves company, so let’s continue on that theme. This week I promise not to say anything that could be construed as filth or mention lesbian porn, this will be entirely clean. Oh who am I kidding, the gutter is my natural habitat – let’s proceed.

1. Colossalblue made me use my Xbox 360

What A Cu… nning guy. Yes Katy, you can have this game, yes Katy, you can have that beta. But you know what cupcake, I think you are way too attached to your PS3, you’re getting clingy and it needs some space. Try to bond with your 360 for a while, it’s really lonely. Not as lonely as that Wii sobbing under your TV mind you. Way to treat a woman CB. So, I did bond with it. Love didn’t give me any sense of fulfilment so I used the sword Square Enix gave me last week instead. Here is the result, and I feel we are getting along well now:

I feel much better

 

2. Xbox 360 Nuances

I said nuances, I meant nuisances. The nostalgia started flowing with vigour as I remembered all the reasons I don’t use my 360.

Everyone tells me the 360 controller is superior. Why? The weight is good, but let’s cut the shit. The PS3 controller is ergonomic and black. On the 360 controller, the arrow keys behave like a supermarket trolley on speed. The analog sticks are just fractionally too far away for my little hands to be comfortable – a blatantly sexist design – and it looks like a cheap plastic toy for 5-year olds that might go “Mooooo!” if you press one of the coloured buttons. Mostly because I was too cheap to get an Elite so I have a white one. Goes well with the Wii, helps keep the toys distinguished from the proper hardware.

Now what about the cables. Am I the only person in the world who feels that it is perfectly appropriate to plug an HDMI cable into a TV and a digital optical cable into an amp – shock horror – at the same time? Oh my goodness, I could not believe it when I realised they wouldn’t fit together. Microsoft wanted to sell me a $30 piece of plastic to fix that so I retorted by taking a penknife to the enormous video cable, now the metal end with the bare wires dangles gracefully out the back of the box. Genius work there guys.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the interface. You thought Motorola phones sucked – NXE takes it to a whole new level. It takes skill to make an interface that bad. I reckon SingStar Team have been doing a bit of work on the side.

And why…. Why…. WHY… does it switch itself off when you change input on your TV. So CB wants me to download some crummy 9/10 rated game, 700MB, no problem I’ll just fire up a TV show on the PS3 while I wait for it. Oh no, I’m sorry, if you do that the 360 will turn itself off and the download won’t finish. I went through every conceivable setting, turned off the screen-saver, auto-TV detection, inactivity power off, but no dice. No problem, I’ll just watch the show via the 360’s media client.

“This content cannot be played because it is not supported”. It’s an AVI file. For the love of God. So I had to retort to drastic measures and go out to buy cigarettes instead.

I know this is all a matter of subjective taste, so if you disagree with my opinion, that’s fine, but please feel free to remain quiet; use the time to realise that I’m right and you’re wrong.

3. The Tester

Could be a running theme this. Was a bit relieved Amped didn’t get kicked out because if there’s no hot girls left at the end there’s obviously no point watching it. Props to Fame Girl for managing for the second time in a row to be completely incompetent yet somehow survive elimination. This week the guys had to shout at each other through megaphones telling blindfolded people in plastic bubbles where to walk. This was a test of communication, apparently, and yes, I can see that, but only the mind of a TV executive could conceive that as a good way of determining true communication ability.

Picture the scene: I’m sitting in my office at Polyphony Digital testing the code I just wrote to make the horn blow on my Kia (or other slow uninteresting car of your choice; Gran Turismo seems to be big on cars with a top speed of 60) when I bust-a-Move. I’m sitting in my giant plastic bubble of course because I wouldn’t want to infect my co-workers with my herpes and delay the game for even longer. They have cut little holes for my arms but unfortunately I’m blindfolded so the only feedback I have is the vibration on the Move. Kaz Hirai walks in to give one of his bi-annual back-patting ego massage speeches to let the team know how impressed he is with their fast pace of development. Of course like every CEO he’s using a megaphone in case we can’t hear him over the fan noise from all the 360s everybody is secretly hiding under their desks so they can play Forza 3 at break time. “Men, I give you pay and food and crisps” he says, dishing out the freebies. I hear it as “Man, I hope one day our game’s as good as this”. I respond by saying it better be because Forza 4’s coming out soon, and promptly get marched into his office for a pep talk about employee attitude.

This classic, common daily occurrence in game development houses can of course only be avoided by performing the Megaphone Bubble Test on potential new applicants. Poor Amped, she didn’t know her left from her right – but then being American, perhaps proper English is not her native language.

Naturally, there are other problems with The Tester. The winners of episode 2 got a fantastic £15 PlayStation 3 headset, which – being hardcore gamers – they presumably all own already. Brill-i-ant. The naïve contestants were told that testing is just the start, they can go anywhere from that within Sony and the lead designer of Twisted Metal and God of War is excited to know that one of them is going to be the next big thing! No, you will not be the next big thing. You, my friends, will disappear into the bowels of a huge faceless corporation never to be heard from again. If any of you even so much think about writing a line of code to be included in a video game, I will personally file a negligence lawsuit against Sony. There’s a reason all you do all day is play video games: you’re not fit for any other purpose. Much like myself. Go home, play your games, go back to stuffing your face with Doritos and Beerios and leave it to the pros. Of course, we will have to fire a lot of people at Sony first so we can hire some pros to start with.

4. Activision Made A Good Game

Kick to Bob, Tick OK Bob, and I B Bot Cokk are all anagrams of Bob Kotick; none of which are particularly funny, but it was the best I could do, so it’s lucky he isn’t called Boh Cotick I guess.

Developing games for the love of games. Working with passion. Love of the creative process. Innovation. Customer satisfaction before profit. All things we know to be anathema to any Activision CEO worth his salt. Bob is to the gaming industry what Jeremy Clarkson is to the environment: highly toxic, with a big mouth. Exactly like me, only I mask my toxicity with perfume and makeup. The big mouth is much harder to conceal. So it gives me a great sense of psychological unease to say that I really enjoyed the Blur beta. I had been planning to ditch this game and buy Split/Second out of protest, even though it’s made by a cartoon company best known for a lead character which is a rodent with two prophylactics on its head that nobody takes seriously. Come to think of it, Activision is best known for sort of the same thing.

Which doesn’t bring me to a point. What is it with driving games with four-letter words? Pure. Dirt. Grid. Fuel. Blur. Skate. Do the marketeers who come up with this stuff have learning difficulties or something? Or maybe they just haven’t figured out how to reduce the font size in Photoshop yet. That’s what you get for hiring people from The Tester. Whatever it is, it’s unhealthy and it’s going to end in tears. Can you imagine a world where all lesbian porn movies had 4-letter word titles? Oh, shit… I said I wouldn’t mention that. Arse. So, two good titles there already.

What if Wipeout was just called Wipe? Gran Turismo could just be called Gran. What if the Move Vibrator was just called Move? Gives you a whole different perspective doesn’t it. And if Mario Bros was just called Bros? Then we’d all have to kill ourselves.

5. My £400 racing setup doesn’t work on the Xbox 360

To be fair, it’s a PlayStation wheel and seat that came out at least a year before the 360, but I don’t care, I’m the customer, I’m right, when are you going to patch it? Credit where credit’s due though, they are half-way there: the seat works fine.

6. Qore

Qore – hm, 4 letters again. Not to be confused with Puls or Firs, if you’re not aware this is the American game magazine which appears on the US PSN store every month. New episode out in the week I wrote this. I’ve absolutely got to take issue with this. It costs $2.99 per episode. Now, I know Veronica Belmont is pure pornography, but why do I have to pay to watch her? And they just tease you by advertising Qore on Pulse. It’s like those porn sites where you get a ‘guided tour’ and then have to subscribe to see the real erm, meat, of the subject matter. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. Guys, the subscription model is dead: RedTube is free, and look how popular that is. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. Sony, please take note.

7. Gran Turismo 5 Trailers

It’s a hoax I tell you. Think “NASA Moon Landing Trailer: Coming Soon”. Activision presents “The Holocaust”. Gran Turismo 5 is vapourware just like those things (ok calm down I’m joking, the moon landing was a very serious thing I know, people died for that). What really annoys me is, the trailers all look so gorgeous – so why was the demo so utterly, utterly hideous? 40 years I’ve been looking forward to this game, and the time trial was more stale and uninviting than an incontinent pensioner’s underwear. I know exactly what it is. They spend all their time making trailers. Then one day Jack Tretton came in with his megaphone and said “hey guys, demo? Anyone?”. I heard it as “All lies. Lemon anyone?”. The rest of the team didn’t have herpes though so they panicked and quickly upscaled Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec into HD so they could rest easy making amazing pre-rendered trailers only vaguely resembling the game for another year or two. I sat in my hazy bubble and said “pass me the doobie guys, all this drum & bass is stressing me out. Put some jazz music on like the good old days.”

8. The Tester: Part 2

I know I haven’t mentioned The Tester before so if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a free show on the US PSN store each week in a Celebrity Big Survivor Island House-or-whatever-its-called-style, God I don’t know, I don’t watch reality TV except for Trinny & Susannah (always hard to decide which one to go for, hell I don’t even know which is which). Anyway, they eliminate people each week and the winner is going to make all the video games you ever play in the future. It’s the next big thing, trust me, I know what I’m talking about.

One small issue. The presenter. Hal Sparks. Apparently Americans love him. Or at least this motley group of wannabe gamers do anyway. You know what I’d like to do to Hal Sparks? Crucify him. No wait, that would be too fast a death, and he might come back 2 days later and create a religion. Then where would we be. I’ve got enough on my plate with Dante’s Inferno and God of War 3 without having to deal with Scientology Star Wars and Meditation Hero as well.

Instead, I propose we put him on Survival Fat Dogs And Their Owners Oprah Mansion, and lock him up with Amy Winehouse, Boris Johnson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Then he can learn the fine arts of professional conduct (Amy), eloquent public speaking and how to cope with that butt ugly face of his all at the same time. Plus he’ll come out as a blonde gay singing crack addict with a stupid grin and Sony can hire him as the tester instead, then the whole unpleasantness of that show can be avoided altogether. He’ll be more than qualified for the job. Testing is just the start – with the right attitude, he could go on to be the new Activision CEO with Bob as his lap dog. Then we’ll have some real games: Blonde Warfare 3: Revenge of The Swedes. Heroin Hero: play with 3 friends and go for the maximum multiplier. Bendy Bus HD, in which you have to scrape gum off seats and steal teenagers’ cellphones in a constantly shifting environment. Cats: The Game. We’ve never had a theatre tie-in before. It’ll have nothing to do with cats, but it’ll make a good sequel to Uncharted 2.

9. Sony’s GDC Presentation and 10. Move – double combo attack

Well, apart from the fact they made me sit up til 1am just to listen to Jamiroquai and Owl City, how in the name of dignity can anyone possibly get excited about a motion-controlled hairdressing application? I say application, because if it was a game it would be fun, and I wouldn’t pay someone else to do it for me. I think I’ll take my PS3 to the salon, shove that dildo in her hand and say, can you cut my hair with this please? I’d like it in the style of my EyePet, Sirocco, today. See whether she thinks that’s a worthwhile use of her time.

Did any of you see the PlayStation Blog that night? It was so sickeningly stereotypical: four pictures of Move blobs, one of them was pink. Guess which one had the happy smiley girls in? For your information, I like other colours too. I’m currently wearing a green and cream plaid top with a little bow round the waist. Now, this may come as a shock to you marketing people, but it actually doesn’t make me look or feel any less feminine.

Just wait til they come out with games “aimed at the growing female sector”. Trust me, I’m not growing, I’m shuddering. Imagine this:

Dissatisfied Housewife: “Dear PlayStation. I’m so sick of Killzone 2 and Final Fantasy. I got a tip, you’re going to be releasing some games for housewives. Confirm or deny.”

Kevin Butler, VP Feminism Damage Control: “Oh, Jenny, have I got just the thing for you. We’ve got a whole range of games coming out to suit your tastes! Why, there’s Move Vacuum, Move Iron and Move Cook. You can stir and it will react just like a real pan. We feel there just aren’t enough household chores in women’s lives these days, so at PlayStation we aim to give you a break from reality. You should be grateful. When your mother was your age she had to stir sauce with a stick.”

“But..”

“WITH A STICK.”

Of course, I’m just masking my true fears. I’m happy to sit with my EyePet waving my hands around looking like a complete twat if it makes Sirocco happy. My real fear is, I’m lazy. And so are you. And you know it. Why would I want to expend 2kJ playing a game when I can expend 1kJ? I have to have some left to be able to get up and go to the bathroom between deathmatches you know. Don’t you people think these things through? My Wii was entertaining for five minutes but then I realised it was a lot more fun to beat my ex up for real. I played table tennis once. It nearly killed me. I don’t need that in my living room. And what about FPSs? Can you imagine what it’s gonna be like online? People staggering around and falling over, trying to aim their guns at each other but they’re shaking so much from exhaustion it looks like they’re recovering alcoholics. Occasionally your mom walks between you and the TV (because I assume you’re all still living with your parents) and your character goes “Oh Noes, I better stop aiming and shooting”. You waggle the Move around in frustration telling her to get out of the way but that only makes matters worse, you’re doing barrel rolls, dropping your inventory and doing wave greeting emotes at SVER as they mow you down. I don’t see how this can possibly be good for the gaming industry. SVER. Hm.

Sony, let me tell you what we need. It’s not Move, but it is similar; unfortunately it exceeds 4 letters so I don’t know if it’s technically possible: Mouse. There’s a reason all hardcore gamers play FPS on the 360: the controller is a lot better.

Top Ten: When The Servers Go Down

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

This is an unedited, uncensored re-print of an article originally posted on another site, included here so that fans can read the uncensored versions.

WARNING! This article is intended as a piece of satirical diatribe. Some readers may find the language and themes within extremely offensive.

We’re all familiar with it: you log on for a bit of team deathmatch, or to buy that new downloadable game that got a 103% average score on Metacritic, only to see some obscure error code: your console’s way of telling you the servers are down. Downtime causes great pain and suffering to all those affected, in some cases leading users to take such extreme action as cleaning the house or eating. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan for when that inevitable downtime comes. How can you be best prepared? This 10-step survival guide will show you.

1. Panic

It’s important not to remain calm when downtime strikes, otherwise it may seem like you don’t care. The ramifications of mass calm are dire: the admins may think nobody is really bothered and go for lunch instead. Panic is key to making the time pass faster and getting the problem solved as quickly as possible.

2. Reboot

I’ll be a little more specific: turn off your device, unplug it from the mains, wait 30 seconds, then plug it in and turn it on again. Anyone who has ever called Sky or their ISP about a faulty set-top box or modem knows that rebooting the client device is the universal solution to 100% of all server-related problems. Heed their advice.

3. Hammer the Reconnect button repeatedly

It’s important to keep server load as high as possible during downtime, as it helps the admins check and resolve any problems more quickly and assists with the testing process. Logic dictates that a server can be tested for bugs faster when people are trying to use it than when it is unoccupied.

4. Call Sony or Microsoft technical support

Level 1 tech support are extremely well-versed in server issues and are always kept up to date with the latest information. When there is server downtime, call volume is generally low so this is an especially good time to call for assistance. The level 1 staff will be able to fix the server for you while you’re on the phone and you’ll be up and running again in no time. They may also offer expert advice such as waiting, rebooting as above or returning your machine for repair – crucial knowledge which is all too-often forgotten. Tech support is underrated; these are fine people, salt of the earth. Where would we be without them?

5. Write an abusive post on the company’s blog or a large gaming web site

Nothing says you care like a well-timed “fuck you”. There are several advantages here; the first two are establishing mutual respect, and admin motivation. Imagine you are face to face in the office. You say “my God you useless retards, I am so sick of this shit, I paid for this service! Or if it’s PSN, I didn’t, but I paid for my PS3 goddammit and now I can’t use it at all. You guys are amateurs, I’m never buying another game from you.” Not only will the responsible admins respect you more, but this also lets them know you really like their service and will motivate them to fix it faster than they would if you hadn’t waxed visceral at them. The third advantage is time-saving: like a horse being whipped, the downtime will get fixed much faster if the staff are constantly bombarded with abuse they have to respond to, rather than just being left to trot along at their own pace.

6. Heap praise on the admins on the company’s blog or a large gaming web site

Server downtime is a good moment to find new gameplay buddies. Posting messages like “you’re doing a great job, I’m with you!” or “take the time you need to fix it properly” will make you instantly more popular with the other gamers, and you’ll quickly find your inbox filling up with friend requests.

It’s also important to establish a clear separation between player and company employee. Those people who respond to a comment of praise with “what are you kidding me? Do you work for Sony or something?” are far more astute than you might think. Create boundaries by posting praise with your normal screenname. This will ensure there is no confusion and it will be clear you an impartial gamer, not an employee.

7. Reconfigure your internet connection

This includes closing any ports you may have open, re-arranging the ethernet cables in your router in an arbitrary fashion, enabling your firewall, changing your IP address, resetting the router to its factory defaults and so on. Anything you can think of that might help. It should be second nature with the knowledge you have by now to know that when you and all your friends can’t connect, the servers must be down because of your internet connection, and resetting it will fix both your and your friends’ connection issues.

8. Post a conspiracy theory

As with making friends in step 5, now is also a good time to weed out the chaff. Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, and by everyone, I mean idiots. Catch these people out and improve the company’s reputation to boot by coming up with a good conspiracy. It doesn’t have to be plausible or in any way factually accurate, it just has to be couched in a way that makes gullible people believe it. Once you’ve got a list of respondents who agree with the theory, you can add them to your block list. Some examples follow:

Your 360 died and when you went to town to buy another one, all they had in stock was Wiis. This is a clear case of Nintendo paying Microsoft off to send a virus to Xbox 360s in your town only, with Microsoft in exchange reducing stock levels in your area.

Your downloaded games have become corrupted. The manufacturer did this on purpose, hoping you would not notice you could re-download them for free and would pay for new copies.

Did your PS3 die with a YLoD one day after the warranty expired? Sony engineered the machine that way on purpose to make you buy a new one. You’ll notice here the theory overlooks the fact that Sony make a loss on each hardware unit sold. Some people with moderate intelligence may try to catch you out here, but you can foil them with a secondary conspiracy: Sony just want you to think that so you feel sorry for them and buy more games.

Venessa Phelps takes a dump that is so potent that not only can it be smelled from Redmond, it actually seeps into the server storing all the Xbox Live Silver subcription data and destroys the hard drives. Again, a clear case of backhander pay-offs. In this case Microsoft paid Venessa Phelps to make you upgrade to a Gold membership.

9. Reformat

It is well-known by experts that deleting all your game saves, install data, downloaded games, add-on packs and other DLC in one sweep not only improves the performance of your machine but also takes the load off the servers allowing them to run more smoothly. If you all reformat when the servers go down, this will help them come up again much faster. Always reformat during server downtime. Every little helps.

10. Check the date

Is it 1st March 2011, 2013 or 2014? Relax. Sony schedule a mostly annual 24-hour maintenance window for PlayStation Network every 1st March. It commences at 0000 GMT and ends at precisely 2359 GMT. You may have heard conspiracy theories about a bug in the PS3’s internal clock. Pay these uninformed peasants no mind; these rumours are completely unfounded and Sony have a large team of engineers queueing at Dunkin Donuts right now working extremely hard to identify and resolve any outstanding maintenance issues. The downtime will always be over within 24 hours.

11. Pull your machine apart

Voiding the warranty on your console is an excellent way to pass the time while the servers are down. Dismantling your machine requires only a bare minimum of skill with a screwdriver and almost all of the parts inside are easily user-serviceable. Try removing and replacing the laser from the DVD or Blu-ray drive as a simple introductory exercise if you are new to warranty voiding as a pastime. You can also try upgrading the RAM by desoldering the existing memory chips and gluing in some much faster and higher capacity standard PC memory. I’ve tried this and it makes all my games faster. If you don’t have a desoldering tool, use a penknife to cut a hole in the motherboard around the memory chips, which can then be safely removed.

12. Practice counting to ten

A skill often forgotten – particularly by female writers – counting from 1 to 10 is another good way to pass the time, and will help you sharpen up your math skills for Blue Toad Murder Files to boot.

Finally, a word of warning. Under NO circumstances should you leave your premises during a server outage. Despite what you may have heard from loved ones and your psychiatrist, going outside is extremely risky and reckless behaviour and could lead to such negative exposures as the Sun’s dangerous UV rays, physical exertion and outside interactions. Please remember that outside interactions are not rated by ESRB.

Of course, the worst-case scenario of leaving your premises is that you may even miss the moment when the servers come back up, which could lead to the nightmare scenarios of having to wait a few extra minutes for that new DLC to download, or your friends soaring past you in level, making the game virtually unplayable.

If you do feel the compulsion to go outside, do remember that virtual money is invalid in the real world and you should always carry with you a supply of soda potions and pizza breads in case your stamina starts to run low. Try to keep the other items you’re carrying to a minimum as it will slow down your maximum walking speed and make returning to your premises more difficult.

Good luck!

 

%d bloggers like this: